Vicarious Menstruation and Other Period Myths Unveiled

Have you heard of Vicarious menstruation? here’s the history you never heard about.

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Menstruation is a very popular topic and you probably have read and heard a lot about it. However, there is this aspect of menstruation that just might be very fascinating to a 21st-century reader: this aspect is known as vicarious menstruation. Vicarious menstruation is when a woman begins to bleed regularly via another orifice, and possibly from a wound.

The first time I heard about this phenomenon I was a teenager who had only just learned about puberty in school. Thus it was quite confusing and unbelievable that someone could actually menstruate through another orifice.

In modern medicine, it is believed that other mucous membranes may bleed along with, and sometimes instead of the womb lining. But cases in the past appeared to be a lot different from what we consider to be possible in the present day.

Some people may say this might just be one of those many locations where modern medicine tries to give a name to an ancient condition but finds it difficult to pick a name that explains exactly what the condition is.

Such diversion during menstruation was first recorded in the Hippocratic medical texts. In those texts, it was recorded that a nosebleed can be considered a good thing if menstruation is suppressed during the bleed.

A physician named Fleetwood Churchill had described a case his colleague had seen in 1838. It was the case of a 21-year-old patient, Mary Murphy who was admitted into Sir Patrick Dun’s teaching hospital in Dublin. During Mary’s stay at the hospital, she noticed a missed menstrual period, and shortly after that, she was attacked by hemorrhage from her two ears.

This hemorrhage was repeated at recorded intervals of from three to as many as five nights, with every attack lasting a couple of hours.

Very often the blood collected was from 15 to 20 ounces which allegedly did not coagulate, neither did blood taken from the patient’s arm.’ For people who don’t know how to measure in ounces, 15-20 ounces is about half a liter (that’s a lot of blood).

Today, what we see as a ‘normal’ period is about 3 fluid ounces or 80 millimeters or!. Mary was eventually treated by ‘strengthening her system’, with purgative medicines, foot baths, and also leeches. Nobody wants to have leaches on their skins but at that point leeches were applied behind the patient’s ears and on her inner thighs as well, to suck up the blood before it came out, and also to divert it back down the patient’s body.

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When people began to believe in such forms of bleeding was when Martin Schurig’s Parthenologia Historico-media brought together different cases in 1729. That point became the highlight as it revealed a huge range of cases from both the 16th and 17th centuries to include menstruation through the tear ducts, fingers, the crown of the head, the navel, saliva glands, the ears, the back, feet, the bladder, gums, skin, the bowels, the stomach and lungs, and even through a cut on the hand as it is believed that nature must seek an exit route for the menstrual flow.

Physicians had also noted that their first reaction whenever they were confronted with the case of a delicate female dealing with such kind of bleeding may be anxiety and alarm. If they can be like that, how about the patient?

In the United Kingdom ‘vicarious menstruation’ wasn’t challenged up until the late 1880s. It was only contested after the British Gynaecological Society discussed a paper which was titled ‘On vicarious menstruation’. The paper defended the theory of menstrual blood taking the path of least resistance whenever ‘the normal route fails’. It remains amazing how such a theory lasted for such a long time.

On average, a female should have about 450 menstrual cycles in her lifetime. Physical, hormonal, and even psychological changes can affect a woman’s mental cycle and this explains why there are lots of myths surrounding the topic of menstruation. We have just lifted the veil of one myth ‘vicarious menstruation’ below are a few other menstruation myths you should know about.

1. An Irregular Cycle is Indicative of Infertility

Not true.

Almost every woman has had an irregular menstrual cycle at some point. It’s true that when this happens it becomes difficult to calculate the ovulation period or predict when the next menstrual period will show up. However, this doesn’t not always point to infertility.

There are several factors that can lead to irregular menstruation and these factors include stress, hormonal imbalance, change in weight, or even stopping birth control pills. Whenever a woman experiences irregular menstruation, her ovulation begins exactly two weeks before her next period starts.

2. Menstrual Cramps Are a Warning Sign of Infertility

Not True.

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Menstrual pains, also called Dysmenorrhea, affects approximately 50% of women in the world and even is more prominent in certain age groups. The fact about menstrual pain is that it is caused by uterine contractions and is often a problem that is very normal.

Also, the severity of menstrual pain varies from one lady to another. In a few cases, menstrual pains can be a symptom of another medical problem that may cause infertility.

3. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is All in Your Head

Not True.

A large number of females around the world suffer from PMS, and to various degrees. Some of the symptoms of PMS which include Tenderness, fatigue, breast swelling, bloated stomach, irritability, and headaches usually do not last till the end of a ladies. Within the first few days, they usually disappear.

At present, the cause of PMS is still unknown. However, hormonal changes often play a major role. There are natural ways to relieve PMS and these include regular exercise, adequate sleep, drinking enough water, and eating healthy.

4. If a Girl Does Not Have Her Period at Age 14, It Isn’t Normal

Not True.

For a lot of girls, their first period usually shows up between the ages of 10 and 14. However, this might not be the case for everyone as it is possible that a female lion sees her first period before 10 years or even after 14 years.

Ladies who do not see their first period before the age of 16 you can refer to their condition as primary amenorrhea. If you know any girl who may be having primary amenorrhea it is very important that you take her to see a doctor in other for the condition to be diagnosed.

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5. The Use of Tampons Often Causes Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

Not True.

Toxic shock syndrome is a very rare infection that can sometimes be quite fatal. It is caused by the presence of some bacterial toxins in a person’s blood. Anyone at all can get affected by toxic shock syndrome. Studies are yet to clearly determine if there is a link between the use of tampons and toxic shock syndrome.

However, hygiene practices, and also the duration of time in which a lady leaves her tampon in place, as well as the absorption capacity of that tampon may play a major role. In order for you to reduce the risks that may be related to the use of a tampon, it is very vital that the instruction written on the back of the tampon is carefully followed.

6. Heavy Periods Are Not Normal

True and also False

On average every woman loses about 4 tablespoons of blood during her monthly menstruation. Also, the duration of the period and the quantity of blood that is lost usually varies from one female to another and also can vary from one cycle to another.

A heavy flow oftentimes, and usually without cause for alarm can last longer than an average 3 to 7 days period. What causes menorrhagia is usually a change in hormones and this sometimes can be a sign of a serious underlying health problem.

7. It is Possible to Suppress Your Period

Not true.

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There are so many reasons why women would rather want to suppress their period instead of having it flow the way it should. For example, some women continuously use contraceptive pills as a method to suppress their periods.

In some cases where women have gynecological problems, that they may be required to continuously make use of contraceptive pills to reduce how often they have their periods. This is a form of treatment that has been recommended for a lot of women. It is important that if you have plans of changing your contraceptive pills or stopping them, you discuss with your pharmacist or doctor.

8. You Shouldn’t Practise Sports While You Have Your Period

Not true.

This is the most untrue claim I’ve come across as far as period myths are concerned. When you are on your period, it is actually a great time for you to work out as it will help reduce menstrual pains, help your period flow better, and also alleviate PMS.

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